Kindergarten Firebirds

2016-09-22-11-02-51Kindergarten students have been hearing firebird stories in art class!  The firebird is a magical bird that features in several Russian stories, including a ballet by Stravinsky.  We worked on using simple shapes to draw a firebird and color it with markers.  We then practiced our gluing skills by gluing the firebirds onto a frame and then collaging golden metallic paper onto our work.  Students used the gold to create golden apples (they make the firebird’s voice sound beautiful!), golden swords, golden eggs, and even fire surrounding the firebird.  One of the things we focus on in kindergarten is skill with materials — taking care of our art materials so they stay nice, using the right amounts, and keeping our artwork as neat as possible so that our viewers can focus on our creativity.  Some of the things we are working on include:

  • Capping markers when finished
  • Carrying scissors safely
  • Capping glue sticks when finished
  • Twisting out an appropriate amount of glue
  • Always applying glue to the back of the small thing, not the front of the big thing (my art room glue rule!)

Paper Animal Sculptures

Graham's cheetah sculpture

Graham’s cheetah sculpture

Kindergarten students have been working on paper animal sculptures and their habitats.  We started by choosing a four legged animal.  (Well, one of them has flippers!)  We then folded a rectangle of oaktag in half to form the animal’s body.  Students learned that one of the things that makes a sculpture different from a drawing is that we can look at a sculpture from all sides: the top, the bottom, the front, the back, and both sides.  We were careful to color all sides of the paper so that no matter which way you look at it, the animal has color.

Then we folded two long strips of oaktag and glued them underneath the body to form the legs.  Between classes, I attached a “neck” for students to glue their heads on.  We drew and cut out heads and tails to complete our animals.

Grace's tabby cat sculpture

Grace’s tabby cat sculpture

Finally, we folded, cut, and taped a square of paper to form a habitat.  Students thought about what kind of place their animal would need to be happy.  Some needed a dense jungle, some needed a big pond, some needed tall mountains… Kindergarteners used pencil, Sharpie, and crayon to add details to their habitats so each animal has a comfortable home!

Dhurrie Rug Collages

2nd grade collage in progress

2nd grade collage in progress

2nd graders just finished their dhurrie rug collages.  A dhurrie rug is a type of flat-woven rug from India.  They come in all different colors, sizes, and patterns.

The idea for this project came from another art teacher blog called Painted Paper.  I wanted to work on collaging skills with 2nd grade, but since they have been doing a lot of representational art recently, I thought it would be nice to focus on design and pattern as well.

2nd Grade Dhurrie Rug Collages

2nd Grade Dhurrie Rug Collages

First, students chose a color for their rugs.  Then we used regular scissors and “fancy” scalloped scissors to cut strips of paper to represent the rug’s weave.  Students created pattern either with color or shape (or both!).  Some preferred to keep their rug simple, and others were very elaborate.  To finish them, we punched holes along the edges and knotted yarn to create tassels.  Several students surprised me by asking if they could braid their tassels.  It created a beautiful effect, but if you come home to find the edges of your rugs braided, I plead ignorance!


Tracing a tessellation

Tracing a tessellation

3rd grade students have been looking at the artwork of M.C. Escher and designing their own tessellations.  Students learned that a tessellation is a specific type of pattern: there are no spaces between the shapes, and no overlaps.  Tessellation tiles fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle.  A honeycomb is a great example of tessellation in nature!

Students started with a rectangle of oaktag and drew a line from one bottom corner to the next.  The line could look however they wanted as long as they didn’t mind tracing it later!  After drawing the line, students carefully cut out the piece, slid it to the top of their oaktag, aligned it so the edges fit together neatly, and taped it in place.

Afterwards, students traced their tiles onto a large sheet of paper as many times as they could.  Then we had fun looking at each one and deciding what it looked like.  Our next step is to add details and bring our idea to life!

Busy Spiders

Lily's spider collage

Lily’s spider collage

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Gay’s class read The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle.  Afterward, we painted spiderwebs for our spiders to use.  Students used white colored pencil to sketch their web.  They noticed that even though webs look very complicated, there are some familiar things in there — an X, a plus sign, and a lot of circles!  After sketching the web, students used white tempera to carefully paint over their lines.  One painting skill kindergarteners worked on was using controlled brush strokes so the web didn’t turn into a blob.

Once the paint was dry, students started to collage their spiders.  We looked at the shapes used to create a spider — mostly different sized circles and rectangles.  Students worked on cutting and counting out the correct number of legs.  Cutting a circle can be a challenging skill for kindergarteners, but I think they rose to the occasion!


EJ's spider collage

EJ’s spider collage

Kindergarteners with a little extra time made details such as eyes, feet, fangs, spider family members, and juicy flies for their spiders to eat.

Completed Daffodils

Connor's 3D Daffodil

Connor’s 3D Daffodil

Mrs. Bruett’s 3rd graders finished constructing their 3D daffodils during their Integrated Arts time!  Students used tabs and folds to make the stigma and stamen “pop out” of the flowers.  Students also cut stems and leaves out of their painted paper.

Once the flower was assembled, 3rd graders chose a color for their background paper and glued it on.  Finally, students had the option to use colored pencil, collage, or oil pastel to add texture on the petals and leaves, or to add environmental details like stars or grass.

Charlie's 3D Daffodil

Charlie’s 3D Daffodil

This artwork took several classes to complete, and it involved many small, detailed steps.  Students showed great teamwork as they helped each other remember how to complete each part.  Everyone used their best effort and it shows in these amazing 3D daffodils!

3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd grade students have been studying flowers during science in their classroom.  Mrs. Bruett’s class is using Integrated Arts time to work on creating 3D models of daffodils.  For the first class, students painted a paper plate to form the petals, a strip of paper that would become the corona, and a strip of paper that would become the stem and leaves.  We discussed how daffodils come in a variety of colors, and some have matching corona and petals, and some do not.  For the next class, we cut and glued the corona into a ring shape.  We used “fancy” scissors to cut the top of the corona into a ruffle.  We cut tabs onto the bottom to create a flat surface for gluing.  We then worked on dividing the plate into six segments to form the petals, and glued the corona into the center.  Most students stopped here, but a few had time to create the pistil, stigma, and stamen.  Next week we will cut out stems and leaves and finish assembling the flowers.